________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 20 . . . . June 10, 2005


The Cure for Crushes (And Other Deadly Plagues).

Karen Rivers.
Vancouver, BC: Polestar Books/Raincoast Books, 2005.
300 pp., pbk., $11.95.
ISBN 1-55192-779-9.

Subject Headings:
High schools-Fiction.

Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Joanne Peters.

**1/2 /4


Dear Junior:

So hi. I'm back!

I missed you, even though it's only been a couple of weeks. You look good. Just kidding! You look the same as always: like a laptop. I wish there was a way to pick off that stupid Ben Affleck sticker, but there isn't. De nada.

Anyway, it's been a busy time. Christmas. School holidays. The having-a-boyfriend thing (more on this later!). Meeting my mom (she's a nun how can this even be true?). Dad's court case.

But now school's back and everything's back to normal. Well, sort of normal.

Thus begins the second half of Haley Andromeda Harmony's senior year of high school, the year that she refers to as TGYML (the greatest year of my life). And, yes, this is "normal" for her. Haley's father is an aging hippie (the court case in the pull quote refers to his problems with a marijuana grow operation), her mother really has joined a convent, and her two friends are Jules, a narcissistic super-model wannabe, and Kiki, a genuinely nice, super-achiever trying for admission to Harvard. And then, there's Haley's boyfriend, Brad, a blue-eyed hockey player who is "considerate, kind, and caring," the kind of guy every girl wants for her high-school sweetheart. But, despite Brad's seeming perfection, Haley seems resigned to doing things to sabotage her chances at happiness: she is continually crushing on other guys and failing to live up to the expectations of the role of high school girlfriends. A series of endless bad hair days, a penchant for hypochondriacal analysis of her health, and an unerring ability to make the wrong choice, even when better alternatives are offered, seems to be the quintessence of Haley's existence. The follow-up to The Healing Time of Hickeys, The Cure for Crushes (And Other Deadly Plagues) is written in the breathless, quasi-epistolary, stream-of-consciousness style popularized by Bridget Jones' Diary and her younger counterpart, Georgia Nicholson (created by Louise Rennison in the Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging series). I don't think that anyone is going to pretend that this is great literature, and at times, I wondered at just how many more mishaps Haley could stumble upon no one could be this accident prone and reach the age of 16 with all limbs attached and intact. Nevertheless, there's an audience of young females who like their reading "lite" and who will enjoy the adventures of Karen Rivers' hapless heroine. I am guessing that there will be yet another volume to follow this alliteratively-titled series: Haley has managed to graduate from high school, and who knows what awaits her in the world beyond.

Recommended with reservations.

Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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